If you’re looking for a decent lunch in Harrogate, there’s a lot on offer. The range of independent businesses and services providing unique, quality eating and service, is abundant to say the least. However we don’t like to see this as a competition; we all have our qualities, and we’re quite proud with what we’ve done with what’s ours.
Norwegian hot lunch: meatballs in gravy
As you may know, Paul’s grandmother Liv Esther Baltzersen was Norwegian, and is in large part the inspiration behind Baltzersen’s Nordic inspiration, nevermind the name. Since we first opened, we’ve endeavoured to provide the finest staples of Nordic cuisine: as a café, we’re obliged to offer baked goods – authentic cinnamon buns, skolebrød and sultanaboller. Our sandwiches are inspired by Scandi cuisine, served open-faced as our Nordic friends prefer it. In addition, we serve “lapskaus” – a traditional Norwegian vegetable stew, with a mysterious connection to Liverpool and beyond.
Our skolebrød and cinnamon buns (kanelboller)
So how did this dish end up as an option for your lunch in Harrogate? Lapskaus originates as a “cheap” stew, akin to central/southern-European goulash. Like most poor man’s stews, lapskaus was a combination of what’s leftover: meat scraps and diced vegetables cooked to a stew, seasoned with (most likely too much) salt and cross your fingers to avoid food poisoning.
However time has a way of turning petty habit into holy tradition: today, lapskaus is a common Norwegian dish; simple perhaps, but not poor – in Norwegian, the word itself is more or less synonymous with “stew” – there’s no formula for the recipe, just some basic components and a little creativity.
We take pride in making sure your lunch in Harrogate is one of quality – our lapskaus is a lentil-based, root vegetable stew, as locally sourced as reason allows, like the rest of our menu. We don’t use meat in our lapskaus, making this dish a great vegetarian option.
The origins of lapskaus’ name is still up for discussion; there’s links to Germanic and eastern-European terms – however more certain is the connection to Liverpudlian scouse. This dish was popularised in English seaports through influence of northern European sailors, and the varieties of scouse dish traditions in Liverpool are undeniably rooted in this Nordic traditional root stew. Let’s not forget that this now international culinary tradition was born out of poverty and need, much like drinking gin during the 18th century to avoid water poisoning (among other reasons). Speaking of gin, our evening restaurant Norse are making some exciting moves – more here.
Koldtbord: Norwegian-style sharing platter with meat, cheese & more
Lapskaus has made it even further than Liverpool: across the great divide, in that grand place they call New York – 8th Avenue in Brooklyn was largely populated by Norwegians and Norwegian-American families in the early 20th century. It’s known as Lapskaus Boulevard – and that’s just about the most thug thing we’ve ever heard.